21 Ways to Treat & Prevent Damaged Hair

Posted by Sasha Kaleigh on Sep 28, 2016 9:07:00 AM


Beautiful hair has always been a bit of a human obsession. Every culture throughout history has recognized the difference a well-kept head of hair can make on one’s physical presence and self-esteem. But damaged hair? That’s a bit of a nightmare for pretty much anyone. And as durable as hair tends to be, it can get damaged in a surprising number of ways. Chemical damage, physical damage from over brushing or using other hair tools, heat damage (especially from curling irons), and damage due to dry hair are all too common. Even good genetics won’t make you immune to the various ways your hair’s health can fall by the wayside. Thankfully, finding methods to solve each and every issue has never been easier.



Hair Treatment the Right Way

Different types of damage to your hair require different treatment methods. Most treatments you can do independently, inexpensively, and from the comfort of your own home. Others you may need a little bit of professional help. The best part? Regardless which treatment you decide is right for you, you’ll likely start seeing results in no time!

1. Trimming Hair

Split ends getting you down? Heat damage making your hair look like a frizzled, messy mop? Trimming your hair is one, simple way to treat this very common issue. Hair trimming can help with cuticle and cortex damage, or heat and chemical damage. Many of these issues affect the lower part of the hair, so this can be quick and easy fix. However, remember one, important feature about your hair: It grows back! Trimming back exceptionally long hair may cause you a bit of angst, but this may be a better option than trying to manage damaged hair that’s simply unrecoverable.

2. Treatment Masks 

Your face isn’t the only thing that can benefit from a moisturizing mask every now and then. Treatment masks for your hair are a great solution to fix most types of hair damage. Easy to find in a store or online, hair masks help put moisture back into damaged hair while healing them down to the cuticle. Despite what you may have heard, hair masks can indeed help heal those broken ends from whatever reason they may have split apart. For those who like to take the power into your own hands (and save a few bucks in the process), scroll down to check out our DIY Home Remedies section.

3. Deep Conditioning

Extremely dry hair sometimes needs a bit more than just a normal conditioner. Deep conditioning your hair is a safe method for those whose hair has lost almost all of its moisture. The natural oils in your hair really are a double edged sword. But when those oils are mostly gone, your hair can be more prone to snapping, splitting and breaking off pretty easily. Even running your fingers through it could make pieces fall right out. You can purchase a deep conditioner, or try a home remedy. Either way, make sure you’re following the right process. Most deep conditioners require simple steps:

  • Wash your hair completely. Avoid using hair shampoos. Remember that shampoo is intended to strip hair of dirt and oil. Considering your hair needs its oils back, you don’t want to wash out what little is left!
  • Apply a small amount of the conditioner to your hand. Usually just enough to fill the very center of your palm, or a quarter-sized amount.
  • Apply the amount evenly across the bottom half of your hair. The worst, driest parts of your hair are usually center down, so applying the conditioner to the top of your scalp is not needed.
  • Let it rest! Give it 10-15 minutes to do its job. Feel free to peruse social media while you wait. Unless you’re in the shower, of course. Don’t shower and tweet.
  • Heat it up! The product will need a bit of heat so it can fully set in. However, make sure you’re not overheating it as this will just have the opposite effect. If using a blow dryer, set it on a low setting. A good option is a warm towel, right from the dryer.
  • Rinse it all out. Avoid using water that is too warm. And avoid shampooing again for the next week.

…when those oils are mostly gone, your hair can be more prone to snapping, splitting and breaking off pretty easily.

4. Pool and Sun Exposure

While this is not necessarily a “treatment”, it needs to be mentioned: The pool and the sun are not friends to your hair. At all. Pool water is filled with chlorine, a helpful chemical in its own right, but one that simply rips the natural oils right out of your hair. The sun is a bit kinder than chlorine, but the effects can be somewhat similar after long bouts of exposure. Ultraviolet light can damage your hair’s cuticles, causing split end and drying out your hair. If you’re spending your summer days sunbathing and doing the backstroke in the pool, you could be effectively destroying your chances at having a good summer hair day. If you love your hair as much as we love ours, make sure to do all of the following:

  • Suck up your pride. Wear a swim cap. Yes, they’re completely uncool, but your hair is worth the visual suffering.
  • Shower before and after hopping in the water. Your hair can only hold so much liquid. Giving it a water treatment belly flopping into the chlorinated pool water gives the chlorine little room to sweep in and push out the natural oils. And because your hair has pores, cold water will close those pores right up, helping to prevent any chlorine from getting inside.
5. Salon Treatment

Sometimes, you just have to admit that you can’t go it alone. Getting the salon treatment for your hair might be exactly what you need. There are certain techniques and materials involved that are simply impossible for the average do-it-yourselfer to accomplish and obtain at home. This includes hair restructuring, a process that celebrity stylist Jen Atkin uses for many of her clients. The salon treatment is not only a guaranteed fix, it’s also super relaxing! Watch as she walks us through the process: 

6. Diet

A healthy diet affects pretty much every part of your body. While your eyes cry out for Vitamin A, your hair is begging for some B Vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids. Typically from fish oils, Omega-3 fatty acids and Biotin, make hair grow stronger and shinier. This is because the nutrients and oils help your body retain that natural moisture. Both your skin and your hair benefit as a result. You’ll see fewer issues with dandruff, as well as fewer issues with split ends. 

7. Humidifier at Night

 Dry air. Hair. These two just don’t play well together. During the winter, especially, the air is extremely dry. Running a humidifier at night will help put moisture back into the air. As the temperature drops, the humidity level will also drop. Cold air is always dryer. Keep that humidifier going when the temperature drops at night to help keep your hair from drying out.

8. Botanical Oils

For those who would prefer to keep things natural, botanical oils (also known as essential oils) are an excellent option for treating damaged hair. If you can, make sure the oils you obtain are fully organic, avoiding in chance of extra chemicals mixed in. Use botanical oils on your hair to help add and keep in moisture. They’re a good supplement for your body’s natural oils when you’re trying to help recover from damaged hair. For dry hair, try peppermint oil, sandalwood oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, lavender oil or even myrrh.

DIY Home Remedies

Do-it-yourselfers need look no further than this! Home remedies for hair treatment have never been better, or so varied. If you’re ready to feel accomplished after treating your own damaged hair, it’s time to raid the kitchen! Here are several at-home methods to fix those split ends and help prevent them from happening in the future.

Natural hair masks - there’s no chemicals, you have the ingredients, and they work wonders by nourishing naturally, leaving your hair smelling fantastic.

9. Avocado Hair Mask

 The fat content in avocados makes them great for keeping in and restoring the natural oils that keep hair moist. If you’re hoping to make a hair mask out of the humble avocado, you’ll need: 

  • ½ avocado
  • 1 egg yolk

Whip the avocado and the egg together well and work the material into your hair, even up to the scalp. Allow it to set for around 15 minutes. Then, rinse it from your hair and clean your hair using shampoo and conditioner.

10. Coconut Oil Mask

Coconut oil is a bit of a given when it comes to hair masks. It’s packed with vitamins that are great for hair, but possesses nutrients that help strengthen your hair. Coconut oil masks are a great preventative measure for hair damage as well. To use this simple recipe, you’ll need:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil (to help thin out the coconut oil)

Mix together two parts coconut oil and one part olive oil. How much you use is up to you. Just make sure you apply a 2:1 ratio. Wrap your hair and cover it for no less than 15 minutes, but no more than 30. More damaged hair will need more time. Follow this with a rinse in the shower, and a shampoo and conditioner application to your hair.

11. Banana Hair Mask

Before you toss that slightly brown banana in the trash, consider using it as the base of a hair mask. The potassium in bananas is excellent for increasing the strength of your hair and repairing damage. For this mask, you’ll need:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp. of honey

Mix the banana and honey together until all of the clumps are gone. Ripe bananas work well for this, as they mash easier and avoid chunking. Avoid the temptation to bake a loaf of banana bread. Instead, apply the mixture liberally to your hair. Let it sit for around 15 minutes. Then, wash it out and clean your hair with shampoo and conditioner 

12. Tea Treatments

 The caffeine in tea, as well as other elements, can help bring out the shine in your hair while strengthen it down to the roots. And thankfully, tea is easy to obtain and very cheap. Just make sure you don’t pour hot tea over your head! You can use pretty much any tea, but black tea works best. However, just make sure you note that teas can naturally stain your hair. Try to use a tea based on your hair color, and only use organic, unflavored teas, such as:

  • Black tea
  • Chamomile
  • Nettles
  • Rosemary

Apply cold teas as a rinse, after you have washed your hair. It’s best to let the tea steep overnight in order to maximize the strength of the tea.

13. Olive Oil

Great for deep conditioning hair, olive oil is an all-natural and fairly inexpensive solution for extremely damaged hair. Olive oil has been used to soften and strengthen hair for thousands of years, making it one of the most tried-and-true hair care oils. Application is simple:

  • Use just enough to cover your hair lightly
  • Let sit in your hair for 15-20 minutes
  • Rinse and shampoo your hair afterward
14. Sandalwood Oil

More popular for its aromatic qualities, sandalwood oil is also great for your hair. The oil can act as an emollient, which makes the outer layer of the hair softer and more pliable -- a perfect solution for dry, brittle hair. To use sandalwood oil for dry hair, simply add a few drops when you’re rinsing your hair after a shower.

Prevent Hair Damage Before It Starts

As great as hair treatments are, why spend your life on damage control? To avoid messy hair treatments, take a few preventative measures. Staying ahead of damaged hair could save you a lot of time, money and stress. Consider all of the following methods:

15. Prepare your hair before bed. This includes using a boar bristle brush to help smooth your hair out and distribute those natural oils evenly. For those with longer hair, tie it up into a bun in order to keep your hair away from the pillowcase.

16. Use a silk or satin pillowcase. Both silk and satin have reduced friction. This helps prevent the buildup of heat that can cause split ends. As a side note, cotton is more absorbent, and will dry hair faster.

17. Avoid washing your hair too frequently. Over washing your hair can dry it out, especially if you’re a fan of shampoos. The mixture of hot water and shampoo pulls the dirt and grime from your hair, but also the necessary oils. Doing this too frequently gives your hair little time to recover those lost oils, leading directly to dry, damaged hair.

18. Brush your hair the right way. Proper brushing can help prevent those split ends. Try splitting your hair into three different sections (one on each side, one on the back). Then, brush each section individually, starting from the roots and working your way down to the bottom. Go carefully and slowly, and avoid ripping through tangles.

19. Be cautious with your use of hot styling tools. It’s important to remember that hot styling tools are great, except when they’re not. The applied heat will fundamentally change your hair, and in some cases actually burn it. You’ll lose the moisture, so your hair will end up getting dry, brittle and broken as a result. Don’t throw those tools out just yet, however! You can still use them without damaging your hair. Take these two points into consideration:

  • Know your hair. Fine hair requires a lower temperature. Thicker hair can withstand more heat before you see the bad stuff happening.
  • Know your tools. Some styling tools simply get too hot, and others have no temperature adjustment. If yours can’t adjust for temperature, you may need to get some that can.

You can still use hot styling tools, just remember that fine hair requires a lower temperature, and thicker hair can withstand more heat.

20. Recognize the impact that styling treatments like coloring, perming and relaxing do to your hair. All of these treatments can cause your hair to become brittle. It’s best to limit their use when you can. Having these done to your hair too often will result in hair that could get too damaged to salvage. If you absolutely must use hair coloring, go for a natural coloring solution. Avoid getting perms when your hair is already in a bad way. Only get a perm when your hair is healthy with a good amount of elasticity. The same goes for the use of chemical relaxers. Healthy hair will take less damage. You’ll also want to have it done much less frequently if you want to avoid inflicting too much pain and suffering on your unsuspecting hair.

21. Proper hair drying techniques go a long way. How you dry your hair could be one of many reasons why your hair is breaking left and right. Avoid doing the following to keep your hair happy: 

  • Don’t rub your wet hair with a towel. This will dry it out too fast, and produce friction, which will break your hair. Instead, blot your wet hair with a towel.
  • Don’t let your hair air dry all the way. While some air drying is fine, it should not be the only method you use to dry your hair, as this will actually lead to more damage.
  • Don’t use a blow dryer on a hot setting. Instead, keep the air cool, and hold the blow dryer at least 6 inches away from your hair.

There’s no greater danger to our hair than our own mistreatment. Thankfully, nature provides us with countless ways to fix our hair mistakes. Don’t just take it from us. Give these methods a try, then let us know what you think!

Topics: hair care, hair health

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